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Sunday, June 26, 2005
Sort of like a Friar's roast but with people dressed up like robots
When it isn't coming up with stuffy "greatest" movie lists that piss everyone off, the American Film Institute hands out the occasional lifetime achievement award. George Lucas snagged one on June 9th during a gala event in his honor but it wasn't broadcasted to the public until the 20th on the USA Network. Why should you care? Because Carrie Fisher, after apparently getting drunk at the open bar, tore into Lucas on stage. And William Shatner sang "My Way." Maybe I'm alone here but, for me, this is what I would call quality television. Here's a rundown:
1 minute into the broadcast: The show kicks off with a video montage of George Lucas' career highlights. Most of the cuts come from the Indiana Jones films and the first Star Wars trilogy. The new trilogy receives roughly 20 seconds of the 2 minute segment, 2 of which involve the much maligned Jar Jar Binks. Howard the Duck also scores a few seconds. Grand total of footage devoted to Hayden Christensen as Anakin Skywalker? 4 seconds.
2 minutes in: A guy in a Chewbacca suit is sitting in the audience with various tuxedo'd producers and cast members involved with Lucas' hits. They hug as Lucas walks in and takes a seat. Growling Wookie noises fill the auditorium as Chewbacca and the director make "small talk."
3 minutes in: William Shatner takes the stage with a half dozen stormtroopers and makes a joke about having to do another Star Trek convention. He's corrected and starts singing a George Lucas tribute version of "My Way." The stormtroopers start dancing behind but quickly grow tired of his one-liners. "Live long, Lucas," he sputters as he's "hauled off" stage. "You've prospered enough."
35 minutes in: Steven Spielberg is there but Francis Ford Coppola is a no show. He phones in a brief tribute while sitting in a tux on a porch at his vineyard.
45 minutes in: A bloated, probably drunk Carrie Fisher takes the stage. "My name is Carrie Fisher and I'm an alcoholic," she sputters. Many awkward laughs are about to follow. After repeatedly calling Lucas a "sadist," she rolls out a series of inappropriate anecdotes that don't fit in among the night's other light-hearted tributes. Apparently, Lucas wouldn't let her wear underwear during the filming of A New Hope. Her closing line: "I hope I slept with you to get that job. If not, who was that guy?" Was she joking? Don't know, don't care. If Fisher's speech isn't currently making the rounds as a Bit Torrent, it should be.
69 minutes in: Ford gives his second speech during an Indiana Jones segment. "Hurry up, George," he says. "If you wait too long Sean will be too old to play my father." Har-dee-har-har.
75 minutes in: The tribute skips over Howard the Duck and The Radioland Murders. Willow recieves roughly 90 seconds.
80 minutes in: Jimmy Smits comes out to introduce a segment. He's the only member of the new trilogy cast that showed up. The new trilogy gets a quick, five minute tribute.
105 minutes in: The screen behind the stage lights up with a video montage of Star Wars fans chimming in from around the world. "Star Wars taught me how to speak English," one excitedly stammers.
115 minutes in: George Lucas takes the stage to accept the award. He offers a hat tip to John Williams and compares him to Buddy Holly. Not Beethoven. Not Mozart. Budy Holly. He mocks himself as "the king of wooden dialog" and the credits roll.
Quality television. Indubitably.